Boarding two planes headed for the U.S. capital without a set return date, at least 51 of the 67 Democratic representatives in the Texas House of Representatives left the state Monday afternoon in a bid to break the quorum needed for Republicans to pass new voting restrictions, The Texas Tribune reports.
Democratic leaders said in a joint statement released Monday that Texas House Democrats stand united in their decision to break quorum and refuse to approve the dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote.
While Democrats claim the new contentious bill would suppress voter turnout of minorities and will make it harder for young people and people with disabilities to vote, Republicans argue that it would provide greater election security.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott criticized Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C., saying the missing lawmakers will be arrested upon their return to the state since under House rules, the chamber can order law enforcement to track down and arrest any members who already fled.
With 26 days left in a special legislative session called largely for that purpose and with Democrat Rep. Chris Turner claiming he and his colleagues are determined to kill this bill, and are prepared to run out the clock on a special session that ends early next month, Abbott said he will call for another special legislative session just as he did in May.